Today is a national holiday in the UK. It’s May Day. And unusual for the UK as it’s warm and sunny. We could have spent the day queuing for entrance to some stately home or try to get to the coast but we decided to stay home. The idea was do some gardening and then open a bottle of wine and have some lunch. The first part worked well but then one of our good neighbours asked us to come over and have a glass of wine. Well a glass of wine turned into a bottle each and a good gossip with the neighbours about the neighbours. We think we have persuaded the neighbour’s son to buy the house next door to us! We were worried who might buy it.
The gardening was quite vigorous. The long, cold winter has meant that not a lot has been done so some work was needed. My job was to look after one of the borders, cut one of the lawns and look after the little pond that we have. This was the little barrel pond that was put in years ago when I wanted a pond. I’d seen a pond that you could wade into on a TV gardening programme and thought that I was getting that but what I ended up with was a little pond in a barrel. I was a bit disappointed but I have discovered that even the smallest pond can be home to an amazing variety of wildlife.
When I started this blog in 2010, one of the first things I posted about was Fred the Frog who took up residence in my little pond. He spent a great deal of that summer in my little pond. I’m not sure how long frogs live for but this morning I found Fred, or one of his descendants, happily living in my little pond.
I will keep an eye open for him over the summer and record his doings…
I like this unusual Manchester Blog. It is the personal blog of Herpetologist and Amphibian Conservationist Andrew Gray. He works for the Manchester Museum. It is in a grand building on Oxford Road in the heart of the University. They have a section where you can go and look at frogs and other amphibians in nicely set out tanks. Though I am not a fan of creatures being locked up, these look quite happy. If they were in the wild they would be fighting off predators and would have to hunt their own food. The only problem is that they tend to blend into their surroundings so spotting them can be difficult. The people at the university study them. if you check out Andrew Gray’s blog you can sponsor a frog! That would make a cool Christmas present for someone.
I only had to work this morning so I promised I would cut the grass this afternoon as, in the warm damp weather, it’s grown a lot. It looked perfect with no debris anywhere at all. So when I looked out after making a cup of tea and saw something brown on the lawn near the little pond I sort of knew it was Fred coming back to his pond for a cooling dip in the afternoon sun. Glad he didn’t try and do it while I was pushing the lawn mower about!
He’s probably in and out of the little pond all the time, but it seems, sometimes, that he disappears for a while. It was sunny yesterday and when I checked the pond there he was in his usual place. We went out for the afternoon and when we got back he was still there but I think he had turned around. He’s quite well hidden as his colours blend in perfectly with the background. He keeps very still and lets me get close with the camera.
I thought he’d found a better pond or some dreadful had happened to him as we do have a lot of pussy cats strolling through the garden. But this morning I went out and there he was in his usual place! Nice to see him again!
Fred the frog is back! I haven’t seen him in a few days and thought he might have moved on to a bigger pond somewhere. But this morning I went out to see what was happening in the world and there he was chilling out in my little half barrel pond. He looked very happy.
The little pond is now full of little wriggling creatures that have just appeared. I only refilled the barrel with fresh tap water about a week ago and it’s amazing how life moves in. Dad said they are mosquito larvae and we will all end up with malaria!
We are now in hose pipe ban territory. It started at 6.00am this morning. We have had an incredibly dry spring and summer with lots of sunshine so we are very short of water. I will be shaving in champagne soon! I will have to top up the pond with a watering can if it gets low and grandma’s pots will have to be watered likewise. The lawn will have to rely on God’s watering system which has been a hit and miss as of late. hehe
Here are some pictures of Fred.
Well, that seems to have worked so I’ll try an actual entry! My first travel is just a short one down to the bottom of my garden of my home in Manchester. When I was a little guy I pursuaded my parents to let me have a little pond as I’m keen on providing habitats for creatures.
Now I had this idea of a large pond that I could actually wade in to. But my parents had other ideas knowing how kids can go off ideas and they would end up looking after it. So dad got half a barrell, waterproofed it and sank it into the ground at the back of the garden. I put a couple of water plants in it, filled it with water and waited to see what happens. A surprising lot happens in my mini pond.
Once a year I pull out all the plants, re-waterproof it with bitumen paint (which, once dry, does not affect plants or wildlife) and refill it with water and repotted plants. It was pretty dry this time because we have had a long dry period and Manchester is enjoying a warm, on some days, hot, sunny summer.
So I have revived my little pond and this morning I found my first occupant! A super little frog and here he is!
Fred the Frog